Typical fans show their devotion by wearing their favorite team's hat or a replica of their favorite player's jersey, but hard-core collectors aren't content until they've purchased original, decades-old uniforms and caps worn by the likes of Babe Ruth. Some take it even further, buying pieces of basketball courts and gloves worn by famous boxers during their most notable bouts. These trophies are not just status symbols (though they definitely are status symbols); they're proof of how much sports mean to men.
No one knows that better than David Kohler and Dan Imler, president and vice president of SCP Auctions in Laguna Niguel, California. Since Kohler founded it in 1979, SCP has become the foremost auction house for expensive sports memorabilia. We spoke to these accomplished auctioneers about the most valuable pieces they've ever sold and the blockbusters they never got their hands on.
Babe Ruth's Yankee Contract
The contract that sent Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees was a big deal – and not just because of the money. Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the Yankees for $100,000 so he could finance several Broadway productions, but the deal ended up costing the Red Sox dearly. Thanks to "the curse of the Bambino," the Sox didn't win a championship until 2004. Predictably, the contract that launched the drought attracted a lot of attention when it went up for auction in 2006. The legal agreement sold for $996,000, which Imler says is fitting for "one of the most significant sports documents."